Briana Galeazzi has spent the bulk of her athletic career on the sidelines, but you won’t hear her complaining.
It’s not that the 2008 Classical High graduate can’t hold her own on the field. As a youngster she played all the usual team sports, but it was her background in gymnastics and dance that drew her to cheerleading in high school – and a spot on the sidelines where cheerleaders tend to do most of their work.
When it came time to pick a college major, Galeazzi chose athletic training, combining her love of sports with a desire to work in health care and ultimately help people. Since mid-September, she has been working as an athletic trainer at Marist College, a Division 1 school located in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
“I joke that I’ve always been on the sidelines, whether as a cheerleader or now as an athletic trainer,” Galeazzi said.
Galeazzi spent the fall working with the Marist women’s soccer team. She’s currently the trainer for the swimming and diving team and come spring, she’ll be on the sidelines for the Marist men’s lacrosse team.
“It’s kind of fun. Every day your work is to go out and go to practice. Sometimes it can be rough. It might be raining or freezing out, but that’s ok,” Galeazzi said. “It’s definitely not an office job.”
Galeazzi went to Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., for her undergraduate degree and after passing her boards to become a certified athletic trainer, she headed to Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C., for her graduate degree.
Galeazzi said as part of her undergraduate program at Quinnipiac she was required to do a number of internships. The idea is to expose future athletic trainers to different sports, to have them work with both men’s teams and women’s teams, to have them deal with sports that involve different levels of contact and to work in different settings (high school and college).
Galeazzi did football internships at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and at the University of Maryland at College Park. She also interned at Yale and the University of New Haven. The various experiences made her realize she enjoys football because the intensity and high level of contact. When it came time to attend graduate school, Galeazzi pursued a football graduate assistant position and that landed her at Gardner-Webb, a small Division 1 school. She completed the two-year program in August and landed the job at Marist in September.
Galeazzi said the thing she enjoys the most about being an athletic trainer is the rehabilitation process an athlete goes through in trying to recover from an injury.
“It’s kind of rewarding to see them getting to their goal and knowing you helped them get to it,” she said.
Galeazzi knows a thing or two about conquering adversity. When she was 12 years old, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She spent the next 2 1/2 years undergoing treatment that included chemotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital. Although she doesn’t attribute her interest in health care to her experience being treated for cancer, she said it may have played somewhat of role.
“I like helping people,” she said. “Maybe it somewhat affected me because I was helped and I got healthy.”
She said the experience did impact her outlook on life and that’s something she tries to draw on it when she’s working with injured athletes who may be discouraged.
“I definitely think my outlook on things is extremely positive. I’m always trying to find the best in a situation because I know it could definitely be worse,” she said.
Galeazzi comes from a family, including parents Sheila and Dave, that has always been very supportive of athletics, whether it involves playing or in her case, working with athletes.
Galeazzi has two younger sisters and a brother. Gabby, a 2011 graduate of Classical High, played soccer for the Rams and is now a senior at Providence College. Francesa (Franki) was an all-star soccer, basketball and softball player at Classical. She’s currently a freshman a Salve Regina. She played soccer in the fall and will be playing softball in the spring. Younger brother Nicholas attends Pickering Middle School. He was the catcher for the Wyoma Little League All-Star baseball team last summer.